Weekly News Round-Up: April 12, 2019

Please find this week's news round-up below.

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This week, we see more news on the impact of shareholder engagement on businesses’ environmental, social, and governance behavior as the 2019 proxy season heats up. We are looking forward to learning more on that topic from students in IEN’s SIILK network, who are convening this weekend at Yale University for the Student Conference on Corporate Responsibility.

It’s not too late to register for our upcoming Intentionally Designed Endowment Roundtable May 2 in Philadelphia, and IEN members can get discounted access to a number of other events highlighted in the calendar below.

Have a great weekend, 

Hannah Bowen
Network Manager, The Intentional Endowments Network

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New IEN Members




IEN in the News

Student Fund Managers Fuel Colleges’ Clean Energy Investments | Energy News Network

  • IEN co-founder Georges Dyer reflects on the growth of sustainable investing in this piece on the strategies student managed funds at the University of Connecticut, University of Rhode Island, and Yale School of Management are using to hedge their portfolios and gain from market returns by investing in clean energy.




Opportunities for Action

Independent Research in Responsible Investment Survey | SRI-CONNECT

  • Deadline: close of business today, April 12. IRRI takes 10 minutes to complete. 1,012 sustainable investment and corporate governance professionals globally (including 144 from the USA) have already contributed their thoughts on who and what is shaping the future of the industry.

2019 Proxy Memos and Exempt Solicitations | Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

  • The 2019 corporate annual general meeting season has begun, and that means it's time to vote your proxy ballots. So why is this important? Votes in favor of shareholder resolutions in the double digits are very successful in focusing management and investor attention on issues. Several hundred shareholder resolutions will be coming up for a vote by stockholders this year. This page contains a list of relevant proxy exempt solicitations and proxy memos, with the arguments for why you should vote in favor.

Investor Statement of Access to Medicine Index | Access to Medicine Foundation

  • Sign on deadline: Ongoing. The Access to Medicine Foundation invites the investor community, including college and university endowments, to sign on the Investor Statement of the Access to Medicine Index, committing to take into account the analysis generated from the Index in their ESG analysis and engagement with pharmaceutical companies. To date, 89 investors collectively managing assets in excess of USD 11 trillion have already signed the Statement. Contact Thomas Collin-Lefebvre for more information.

GIIN Survey: Understanding Faith-Based Investing | Global Impact Investing Network

  • Deadline: April 26, 2019. The GIIN invites organizations that manage a faith-based investment portfolio, e.g., use tenets/values of faith to shape the organization’s investment policies and processes, to participate in a new GIIN study. Collection of this data contributes to a wider effort at the GIIN to raise awareness about faith-based investors’ activities and support their efforts to align values with investment strategies, particularly as it relates to impact investing. Findings from the survey will be released in a report available to the public, and respondents will receive priority access to the publication. For more information on the GIIN’s new efforts to engage faith-based investors, please contact Katrina Ngo, Senior Manager at kngo@thegiin.org.

SIILK Mentorship Program | Intentional Endowments Network

  • The newly launched SIILK Network Mentorship Program was designed to connect current students with experts from the sustainable investing industry, with the ultimate goal of creating a more diverse pipeline of finance professionals with a solid grasp on sustainable investing. If you are a current professional at an IEN member institution working in any area of the sustainable investing industry, please consider signing up to be a mentor, and if you are a current graduate or undergraduate student interested in being paired with a mentor who will provide career and/or project-based support, please consider signing up to be a mentee.
  • This scholarship was started and is coordinated by a group of First Affirmative Financial Network emeriti and longtime affiliates to bring young people to The SRI Conference. Applications will be accepted from April 1st through July 8th, 2019. Winners will be announced in late September. For questions or additional information on this program, please contact SRIscholarship15@gmail.com, and to apply, follow the link above.


New Resources & Reports

Investing In A Time Of Climate Change — The Sequel | Mercer

  • In 2011, Mercer published its first global research report on climate change and its implications for strategic asset allocation, in partnership with a number of institutional investment clients. After a 2015 update, the firm has just published a new report, Investing in a Time of Climate Change — The Sequel (“the Sequel”). The findings strengthen the argument for investor action on climate change and suggest greater attention is required on how investors will actively support the transition to a 2°C scenario – as “Future Makers”. Fiduciaries – motivated by the economic and social interest of their beneficiaries and clients – have the opportunity, and arguably the obligation, to use their portfolios and their influence to help guide us towards this more-economically-secure outcome.

Resilient and Sustainable Portfolios: A Framework for Responsible Investment | World Wide Fund for Nature

  • A new report and framework by WWF will support asset managers to develop robust ESG capabilities amidst emerging expectations to manage sustainability risks, opportunities and impacts. The framework provides clarity on best practice responsible investment in what can be seen a new era of fiduciary duty. Asset owners are being asked to be accountable to their beneficiaries to build resilient and sustainable portfolios and demonstrate prudent management of assets – not only to safeguard long term returns but also to account for the impacts of their investments on real world outcomes.

The ESG Global Survey 2019: Asset owners and managers determine their ESG integration strategies | BNP Paribas

  • A BNP Paribas Securities Services survey of asset managers and owners incorporating ESG strategies reveals further ESG integration by investors, with over 65% of respondents aligning their investment framework with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 52% of respondents ranked ‘improved long-term returns’ in their top three reasons for ESG investment. 60% of all respondents expect their ESG portfolios to outperform over the next five years.




Sustainable Investing By Institutional Asset Owners

Multi-school Fossil Fuel Divestment Fund Releases $57,000 to Salem State University |

  • Salem State University, the only institution from the 30 participating schools in the Multi-School Fossil Free Divestment Fund to divest fully from fossil fuels, received all of the funds holdings on April 11. The fund, established in 2014, allowed parents, alumni, faculty, staff, students, and others to leverage their donations to put collective pressure on universities to divest from fossil fuels. In May 2018, Salem State announced that it had sold the university’s prior holdings in Carbon 200 (fossil fuel companies). 

Building an Inclusive Economy by Supporting Entrepreneurs of Color | Stanford Social Innovation Review

  • Surdna Foundation’s President and Director of Impact Investing share their experience implementing their 2017 commitment to deploy $100 million to mission-related investments, program-related investments, and other impact investing strategies, with a focus on racial justice. Examples include investing in the Impact America Fund, a venture capital firm founded by a woman of color that focuses on early-stage technology companies that seek to improve economic inclusion for underserved consumers, and a debt investment in Meda, a community development finance institution (CDFI) located in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.

UK Parliament Pension Fund Takes First Step Towards Fossil Fuel Divestment | Guardian

  • The UK Parliament’s pension fund trustees are to reconsider the rules of their investments to take account of the risk of climate change, in a first for MPs’ finances. While stopping short of a promise to fully divest from fossil fuels, the pledge by the trustees marks an important first step towards assessing and reducing the effect of the pension fund’s investments – which are ultimately paid for by the taxpayer – on climate change.

‘Historic Breakthrough’: Norway’s Giant Oil Fund Dives into Renewables | Grist

  • Norway’s $1 trillion oil fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, is to plunge billions of dollars into wind and solar power projects. The decision follows Saudi Arabia’s oil fund selling off its last oil and gas assets. Other national funds built up from oil profits are also thought to be ramping up their investments in renewables. The moves show that countries that got rich on fossil fuels are diversifying their investments and seeking future profits in the clean energy needed to combat climate change. Analysts say the investments are likely to power faster growth of green energy.


Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Climate-Change Funds Try to Profit From a Warming World | New York Times

  • This in-depth overview of funds investing in companies that can help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions or aid adaptation to a warmer world includes observations from IEN members Green Century Capital Management and Brown Advisory.

Why Confidence in ESG Returns Keeps on Growing | Business Green

  • The myth that investing in companies with strong environmental credentials means foregoing attractive returns was dealt a dual blow, after two new reports revealed growing confidence across the investment community that assets boasting impressive ESG performance are delivering strong financial returns. BNP Paribas Securities Services published the results of a new survey of nearly 350 asset owners and managers, detailing their attitudes towards ESG issues and the maturity of their ESG strategies. Ratings agency giant S&P published a new report entitled The ESG Advantage: Exploring Links To Corporate Financial Performance, concluding that research into the links between ESG and financial performance remains relatively immature, but there is increased investor interest in ESG funds and products and growing confidence they deliver attractive returns.

Modern Philanthropy Through Impact Investing: Non-Traditional Philanthropy in Action | LOCUS

  • A member of The Sandy River Charitable Foundation board describes how the foundation approached incorporating impact investing into their overall strategy with the help of IEN member LOCUS Impact Investing.

SDGs becoming a 'new compass' for sustainable investing, survey finds | Edie.net

  • Additional coverage of a recent survey by BNP Paribas focuses on the finding that more than half of institutional investors that have incorporated ESG issues into their frameworks are using the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a guideline. Includes a focus on the grown of the green bond market and other “green finance” trends.

(Listen) $100 Billion Bond Deal for Aramco, ESG Investing | Bloomberg

  • In this podcast, Tina Davis, Bloomberg News Managing Editor of Energy & Commodities, and Molly Smith, Bloomberg News Corporate Finance Reporter, discuss Aramco’s oversubscribed $100 billion debt deal and Guillaume Mascotto, Head of ESG at American Century Investments, talks about more investors getting behind opportunities in ESG stocks.

ESG-Themed ETFs Are Gaining Traction Among Investors | ETFdb.com

  • Many people believe in the principles that environmental, social and governance factors encompass, but exchange traded fund investors are not as quick to bite on the investment themes. However, the industry is trying to do more to educate investors on the benefits of ESG-related investments.

Falling Fees Boost Appeal of Sustainable ETFs | Wall Street Journal

  • The fee-cutting fervor sweeping the U.S. asset-management industry is drawing more investors into exchange-traded funds built on environmental, social and governance criteria. (Subscription required to access full article)

Sustainability is Not Alien to the Bottom-line | Gulf News

  • In the Middle East, banks are only beginning to leverage the available environmental and social data to inform actionable business insight. At the same time, they are gradually putting more emphasis on sustainability reporting — though there is room for improvement.

Why Hasn't Sustainable Investing Gone Viral Yet? | Forbes

  • Financial markets have been around for hundreds of years, so prior notions and dispositions need to be challenged. This initial work has been performed by funds such as Generation, Impax and Parnassus. They broke the status quo and proved to the markets that sustainable investing can be a significant part of investing’s future, in the 21st century and beyond. Further, early adopters have joined those leaders to establish the movement as a reckoning force. However, to truly enact a sustainable and permanent change, the most significant obstacle still must be removed — the concentration of assets under management.

Has ESG’s Rapid Growth Cost the Sector Its Soul? | Wealth Manager

  • Investor interest in ethical investment has reached a tipping point in recent years: a sector that was once privately disparaged as a domain of sandal wearers and lentil fans is now the hot tip for fund houses looking for growth areas. However, that increase – coupled with fudged terminology about what is sustainable – has led some sector veterans to warn that the reputation of the sector is at risk from terminal dilution by opportunists and marketing departments.

Why ESG Matters to Oklahoma Businesses (Opinion) | Journal Record

  • Opinion piece from a local Bank of America Merrill Lynch executive points to the benefits of using an ESG framework for mitigating risk and improving long-term sustainability and ethical impact.

Socially Discerning Investing Can Bring Both Monetary and Ethical Rewards If Done Right | Takoma News Tribune

  • Brief overview of the history and current state of SRI/ESG investing strategies for a general audience.


Shareholder Engagement

Proxy Voting Reform: What Is On The Agenda, What Isn’t On The Agenda, And Why It Matters For Asset Owners | BU Law Review

  • This piece, co-authored by IEN Steering Committee Member Keith Johnson of Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, explores two questions: the fiduciary duties of institutional investors, asset managers, and proxy advisors when voting on behalf of fund beneficiaries and advising on voting; and the financial effects of ESG issues, which are the issues in shareholder proposals that the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable are targeting for reform. With Congress and the SEC considering reform, the article argues that, while not every shareholder proposal raising an ESG issue deserves to be supported on economic grounds, many do - and the rules should reflect that reality.

Trump Takes Shot at Shareholder Climate Change Advocacy with Pipeline Order | Washington Examiner

  • President Trump issued an executive order Wednesday primarily designed to curb states’ power to block pipelines and other energy infrastructure projects. But it also contained a short provision requiring the Labor Department to study pension funds’ energy sector investments and to investigate whether the growing and successful shareholder campaign for pension managers to consider companies’ exposure to climate change risks is harming the economic performance of the funds.

Shareholders Shake Things Up This Proxy Season | Kiplinger

  • Top issues for 2019 proposals include climate change, corporate political contributions and gender diversity on executive boards. Until 2017, firms such as Vanguard, BlackRock and State Street (which collectively manage about $14 trillion in investor assets) typically either voted their proxies in favor of executives or stayed above the fray entirely. “Mutual fund companies are recognizing that issues such as climate change represent risks that affect these companies’ bottom lines,” says Heidi Welsh, executive director of the Sustainable Investments Institute, an investing research firm.

Chevron Phillips Agrees to Report Plastic Pellet Spills | Pensions & Investments

  • Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. agreed to report spills of the preproduction plastic pellets considered a significant source of ocean plastic pollution, following shareholder engagement by As You Sow, the non-profit organization promoting environmental and social corporate responsibility said. As You Sow reached a similar agreement with Exxon Mobil in late March.

Rhode Island reaches lobbying disclosure agreement with Mastercard | Pensions & Investments

  • Mastercard Inc. reached a shareholder agreement with Rhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner to increase its disclosure of corporate lobbying expenses. The agreement comes after Mr. Magaziner filed a shareholder proposal last fall requesting Mastercard's board of directors to annually disclose information regarding payments used for direct or indirect lobbying, payments to trade associations or grassroots lobbying activity.

Exxon Can’t Avoid Shareholder Votes on Climate Change, Dark Money | Climate Liability News

  • Exxon cannot block its shareholders from voting on two new shareholder proposals, one calling on the oil giant to create a new board committee to address climate change and the other calling on the company to more fully disclose political contributions to tax-exempt organizations, including trade associations and other 501(c)(4) or “dark money” organizations. The SEC recently allowed Exxon to block voting on a separate shareholder proposal, which, if passed, would have required the oil giant to set and disclose greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.


Sustainable Investing in Retirement Funds

Workers want those hard-to-find socially responsible investments in their 401(k) plans: Survey | CNBC

  • A recent survey from IEN member Natixis Investment Managers finds that many workers would be more likely to save for retirement if their employer-sponsored retirement plan offered socially conscious investments. Of the 1,000 workers surveyed, 61% of employees said they would start saving or increase their investments if that also meant doing social good. Millennials, 66%, were even more likely to agree with that statement. At the same time, just 13% of workers surveyed said they have access to ESG investments in their workplace retirement plan.


Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Does Unconscious Bias Affect Our Sustainable Lifestyle Choices? | Forbes

  • Dr. Aaron Brough of Utah State University co-authored a paper with professors from four other universities to understand how gender norms affect sustainable decision making. They report data from seven experiments that included over 2,000 participants from the US and China on what they call a “Green-Feminine Stereotype.”




Community Impact Investing

New Guide Shows Investors How to Overcome Obstacles and Work with Communities | Global Landscapes Forum

  • Investors can play a crucial role in supporting projects involving the development and restoration of forests, pastures and other natural resources, but the first step for many is to understand and work through the challenges that come with investing in resources managed collectively by a community. This is where the new Guide to investing in collectively held resources comes in.

IRS, Congress Struggle to Shed Light on Opportunity Zones’ Impact | Bloomberg Tax

  • IRS officials are trying to figure out what data the agency can collect on new incentives created under the 2017 tax overhaul, but the best hope for revealing whether the tax breaks are aiding low-income areas—rather than accelerating gentrification to the benefit of the wealthy—likely rests with Congress.

How Elyse Cherry Became an Impact Investing Pioneer | ThinkAdvisor

  • Elyse Cherry, CEO of BlueHub Capital, talked with ThinkAdvisor about the largely overlooked world of community development financial institutions that offer investors a fixed income alternative in the impact investing space.




Investment Firm News

The Two Hardest Lessons this Swiss Private Bank Learned About ESG | CityWire Selector

  • J. Safra Sarasin began with separate research for sustainability and creating best-in-class filtering process. However, it later gravitated towards integrating sustainability into every step of the investment process, which includes portfolio construction and portfolio managers taking the leading role in the whole process. One trap investors easily fall into is having a sustainable investment universe which is usually overweight Europe or underweight energy. The bank has also had to overcome the mentality of finding investments first and then asking for them to be approved by the sustainability team.

OpenInvest Launches Place-Based Impact Investing | Benzinga

  • OpenInvest, the asset management platform that enables customization, direct indexing and impact investing at scale, announced today that it has added place-based impact investing to its offering for mission-driven institutions. The platform's new cause allows charitable foundations, endowments and other institutions to target their investments to companies making a positive social, economic or environmental impact in particular geographies.

Vanguard's New ESG Fund Offering | Kiplinger

  • In another sign that sustainable investing is here to stay, Vanguard announced it would launch its first actively managed fund with a focus on environmental, social and (corporate) governance characteristics. When it opens, in late May at the earliest, Vanguard Global ESG Select Stock will charge 0.55% in annual fees, half the average expense ratio of all ESG stock mutual funds. Two managers from Wellington Management, Mark Mandel and Yolanda Courtines, plan to hold roughly 40 stocks. They’ll scout for profitable, smartly run companies in the U.S. and abroad that are also leaders in integrating ESG practices into their businesses.

Saxo Bank and Brown Advisory Collaborate to Offer a Portfolio of Ethical Stocks | Mondo Visione

  • Saxo Bank, the leading Fintech specialist focused on multi-asset trading and investment, and Brown Advisory, a leading global investment manager with a long history in sustainable investing, announced a cooperation to launch a new digital investment portfolio, Ethical Selection in the SaxoSelect universe.

S&P Is Rolling Out Socially-minded Index | CNBC

  • S&P Dow Jones Indices will launch an ESG version of its S&P 500 Index. The move’s an effort to meet increased investor demand for sustainable-investment vehicles based on U.S. equities. A global family of ESG indices based on the firm’s other widely tracked regional and country-specific large and mid-cap benchmarks will also be introduced.

New Public Benefit Corporation, InStride, Launches to Reinvent the Way Employers Bring the Power of a University Education to Their Employees | AP

  • Arizona State University (ASU), recognized by U.S. News and World Report as the country’s most innovative university, and The Rise Fund, a global impact investing fund managed by TPG, have collaborated to launch InStride, a learning services enterprise designed to achieve significant social impact through partnerships with employers to provide opportunities for employees to obtain a university education.

Bono: Capitalism Is a ‘Wild Beast‘ That If Not Tamed Can Chew Up a Lot of Lives | Milbank Monitor

  • Bono and private equity giant TPG are partnering on a new organization, called Y Analytics, to develop metrics for analyzing the impact of social and environmental investments. The goal is for economists and researchers to work with investors to make decisions that benefit society in addition to scoring high financial returns.


Climate Risk, Science, and Regulation

Earth's Glaciers Lost 9 Trillion Tons of Ice. That's the Weight of 27 Billion 747s. | Mashable

  • In a recent study published in Nature, scientists concluded that Earth's glaciers have melted over 9 trillion metric tons of ice, equating to a little over an inch of sea level rise over a 55-year period. But, critically, it's not just melting glaciers that are driving sea level rise, which has raised sea levels by around 9 inches along portions of the East Coast in the last century. The ocean is absorbing vast quantities of heat, and is expanding. Specifically, the absorbent oceans soak up over 90 percent of the heat trapped by human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. The pace of melt is expected to pick up as the planet continues on its accelerated warming trend — stoked by the highest levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide in millions of years.

Trump Loves Coal, Hates Climate Action but Investors are Fighting Back | CNBC

  • Analysis from IEN member HIP Investor’s R. Paul Herman argues that as various government policies continue to advocate pollution-laden energy that risks our existence on this planet, investors are fighting back with their portfolios — and winning with stronger, more resilient portfolio results. In particular, 401(k) plans are seeking to offer sustainable options.

Blamed for Climate Change, Oil Companies Invest in Carbon Removal | New York Times

  • Chevron, Occidental Petroleum and BHP have invested in Carbon Engineering, a start-up developing technology to take carbon out of the atmosphere. Investing in Carbon Engineering and other carbon-reduction initiatives is part of an emerging effort by fossil-fuel industries to remain relevant and profitable in a warming world. With electric cars and solar and wind power becoming increasingly affordable, executives acknowledge that business as usual could put their companies at risk.

Commercial Property Investors Underestimate Risks of Climate Change | Workplace Insight

  • This coverage of a recent BlackRock report on climate-related risks focuses on the impacts for municipal bonds, commercial real estate, and commercial mortgage-backed securities.


General Higher Education Endowment News

How Does Bowdoin Get Its Money? | Bowdoin Orient

  • This is Part 1 in a two-part series examining Bowdoin’s budget, focusing on the College’s sources of revenue. The second installment, published next week, will examine its spending. Provides an in-depth look at how the endowment is funded and contributes to the college’s operating budget, including graphics to show how the money flows. As of June 30, 2018, Bowdoin’s endowment was valued at $1.63 billion. It made headlines last fall as one of the best performers among any college or university in the United States, with a 15.7 percent rate of return.

Lake State Endowment Fund Meeting Investment Expectations | The Sault News

  • Lake Superior State University’s endowment fund has been generating solid investment returns, according the institution’s top financial official. Vice-President for Finance Morrie Walworth provided the board with data showing that, by hitting its 8 percent goal, LSSU has often outperformed many of its peer institutions and even those with much larger endowments. LSSU’s endowment is less than $25 million.

Risk Parity Beats the Endowment Model | Institutional Investor

  • Over the last 20 years, institutional investors have raced to employ the endowment model with its large allocation to alternatives to diversify away from the equity risk of in a traditional 60-40 portfolio. But new research from quantitative asset manager PanAgora finds investors would have been better off taking a risk-parity approach over the last 10 years if they wanted diversification.

Hampshire President Quits; Board Votes to Try to Stay Independent | Inside Higher Ed

  • Hampshire College's president, Miriam E. Nelson, announced that she was leaving her position, and defended her analysis that the college needed substantial changes in its structure and financing to remain viable. The college also announced that its board had voted to start a fund-raising campaign to remain independent. Hampshire's woes have come at a time when small private colleges have been struggling. Three small private colleges in March announced plans to close: Hiwassee College, in Tennessee, and two in Vermont, the College of St. Joseph and Southern Vermont College. Green Mountain College, also in Vermont, announced in January that it will close at the end of the spring semester. Newbury College in Brookline, Mass., announced in December that it would close at the end of this academic year.

Georgetown Students Vote to Pay Reparations | Inside Higher Ed

  • As the debate over reparations heats up, Georgetown University students voted Thursday by a large margin to impose a fee on themselves to pay reparations for the university's ties to slavery. The measure calls for the university to start with a fee of $27.20 per semester in the fall of 2020, "in honor of the 272 people sold by Georgetown," referring to the slaves sold by Jesuits to finance the university in its early days. The resolution says that proceeds from the fund "will be allocated for charitable purposes directly benefiting the descendants of the GU272 and other persons once enslaved by the Maryland Jesuits -- with special consideration given to causes and proposals directly benefiting those descendants still residing in proud and underprivileged communities."




General Higher Education Sustainability News

How Climate Research Can Adapt to the Imminent Threat of Global Warming | Pacific Standard

  • It's time for the climate science research enterprise to focus on integrating fundamental science inquiry with risk management. Fortunately, there is an example in the U.S. of institutions successfully maintaining long-term relationships between academic researchers and decision-makers in their communities: many land-grant universities have extended the extension concept beyond agriculture. The University of Arizona has built a Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solution, the University of Washington is building an EarthLab, and the University of California–San Diego has a new Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation. The recently established University Climate Change Coalition and Science for Climate Action Network are aiming to catalyze similar efforts.


Private Prison Divestment

Boston Must Divest from Prisons, Reinvest in its Values | Boston Business Journal

  • Opinion piece from IEN members Matthew Patsky, CEO of Trillium Asset Management  and Geeta Aiyer, President and founder of Boston Common Asset Management, making the case for the City of Boston to divest from companies profiting from the nation’s mass incarceration crisis.

Teachers Call for Prison Divestment | Rochester City Newspaper

  • ROC-Teachers Against Student Exploitation, a social justice caucus of Rochester Teachers Association members, launched a new campaign to get the New York State Teachers' Retirement System, which manages the teacher pension system, to divest from private prisons like CoreCivics and GEO Group. According to a report earlier this year from the American Federation of Teachers, some of the nation's largest public pension funds – including NYSTERS, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, and the Ohio Public Employees' Retirement System – hold millions of dollars in stock in the two prisons.


Fossil Fuel Divestment

A New Strategy For Fossil Fuels Divestment | Georgetown Voice

  • A Georgetown student group has asked the Committee on Investments and Social Responsibility to use a set of criteria, Clean Energy Standards originally developed by the Union of Concerned Scientists, to gauge whether a company is adequately adapting to resist climate change. If a company meets these criteria, Georgetown can stay invested in it. If it doesn’t, Georgetown should demand that it does, in the form of a shareholder resolution. If the shareholder resolution fails, Georgetown should divest from the company. This process of evaluation, engagement, and divestment should follow a five-year timeline.

Can the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement Win in Oil-Rich Colorado? | Westword

  • After years of disappointment, the “Fossil Free” investing movement has picked up steam around the world and in Colorado, where — despite opposition from the state's powerful oil and gas industry — it’s won some small victories, including an announcement last month that the City and County of Denver plans to dump its investments in fossil fuel companies. However, lawmakers on the state’s House Finance Committee voted overwhelmingly this week to defeat House Bill 1270, a proposal to require the state’s pension system to simply study the risks of its fossil fuel investments.

An Open Letter to the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors on Divestment from Fossil Fuels | Collegiate Times

  • This opinion piece makes the case for Virginia Tech to divest from fossil fuels. The university’s endowment is operated by the Virginia Tech Foundation (VTF) and holds $1.15 billion in assets as of last year. Approximately 10% of this amount is invested in fossil fuels, which includes the production and distribution of coal, oil and natural gas.

DIVEST BING Calls for Financial Transparency Regarding University Endowment, Investments | Binghampton University Pipe Dream

  • Student members of DIVEST BING, a recently revived campus organization, are calling on Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger for financial transparency of the school’s $152m endowment. The University’s investments are handled by the Binghamton University Foundation, a nonprofit organization that is not required to disclose investment records or respond to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.

Divest Now: Wesleyan University’s Institutional Obligation to Address Climate Injustice | Wesleyan Argus

  • Student members of WesDivest and a coalition of other sustainability groups make the case for Wesleyan to fully divest from fossil fuels.

Fossil Free WashU Shares Board Member’s Response to Divestment Request | Student Life

  • Washington University board member Harry Seigle supported fossil fuels and denied “the effects of anthropogenic climate change” in a response letter sent to Fossil Free WashU, the group shared on Facebook last week. Fossil Free WashU sent out letters to the University’s Board of Trustees as part of their Valentine’s Day campaign, calling for them to “act on climate change by supporting divestment.” Seigle was the only board member to respond to Fossil Free WashU’s Valentine’s Day campaign.

Harvard Undergraduate Council Endorses Prison Divestment Petition and Heat Week | Harvard Crimson

  • The Undergraduate Council voted to pass resolutions on climate change and prison divestment, establish a summer storage option, and fund Black Graduation at its general meeting Saturday. The UC voted to endorse Heat Week, a series of events co-sponsored by Harvard Undergraduates for Environmental Justice and Divest Harvard that aims to “draw attention to the severity of the climate crisis and raise the call for Harvard to divest its endowment from the fossil fuel industry,” according to HUEJ’s website.

Police Disrupt Student Divestment Protest at Oxbridge Boat Race | Bright Green

  • More than 50 students, representing Oxford Climate Justice Campaign and Cambridge Zero Carbon Society, attended the annual Oxford-Cambridge boat race with the aim of conducting a protest against their universities’ investments in the fossil fuel industry, but were prevented by police from doing so. 76 UK universities have now committed to divest from fossil fuels. This represents nearly half of all publicly funded universities in the UK.


Calendar of Upcoming Events

IEN Events:

Student Conference for Corporate Responsibility l Yale's Dwight Hall SRI Fund and The Intentional Endowments Network, April 13-14, 2019, New Haven, CT 

HBCU Impact Investment Summit | HBCU Green Fund and The Intentional Endowments Network, April 17, 2019, Durham, North Carolina

Intentionally Designed Endowment Roundtable at Total Impact Philadelphia | May 2, 2019, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. ET, Philadelphia, PA

Community Impact Investing Roundtable 2019 | Intentional Endowments Network, September 6, 2019, Berkeley, CA

Other Events:

National Conference on Trusteeship | Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, April 12-14, 2019, Orlando, FL

An Investor’s Case for Prison Divestment | WISE-Boston, April 16, 2019 5:30-7:30pm, Boston, MA

You Have Deforestation in Your Supply Chain: What Now? | Ceres, April 18, 2019 9:30-10:30 EDT, webinar

Impact Investing Day: Building an Ecosystem of Responsible Capital and a Future of Regenerative Economies | Travois and AltCap, May 1, 2019, Kansas City, MO

Total Impact Philadelphia 2019 l Total Impact, May 1-2, 2019, Philadelphia, PA 

American Climate Leadership Summit 2019 | May 1-2, 2019, Washington, DC

2019 Opportunity Zone Expo Las Vegas | Opportunity Zone Expo, May 9-10, 2019, Las Vegas, NV, Interested members should contact Kaede Kawauchi to access a $50 registration discount as an IEN member.

Davos on the Delta l iSelect Fund, May 14-15, 2019, Memphis, TN

9th Annual Conference: New Challenges New Opportunities | US SIF, June 10-12, 2019, Minneapolis, MN

OCIO Solutions Summit | Investment Management Institute, June 12, 2019, Stamford, CT, Interested members should contact Kaede Kawauchi to access the following member discounts:

  • IEN endowment members - Room and board will be covered, $350 registration fee (80% off the original price), Opportunity to speak on a panel
  • IEN asset manager members - $200 off the original price

2nd Annual Advisors Forum | Confluence Philanthropy, June 24-25, 2019, San Francisco, CA, Member pricing available for IEN members.

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